When he was 20 years old, Len McCluskey lied to get money. Having broken his arm playing football at the dock where he worked, he claimed he’d been injured on the job due to his employer’s negligence. This false account to the Medical Appeal Tribunal brought him £250 — about £4,000 in today’s terms.
51 years later McCluskey, now the leading trade unionist of the last decade, shows no regret as he reveals this scam in his memoir, Always Red (published to coincide with the annual conference of the Labour Party he helped to ruin). Indeed, he seems almost proud of getting away with it — his account mentions no comeuppance for the con. That’s fitting for a man whose career in politics and public life has been defined by two things: indifference to the consequences of his own actions, and the power of money.
Other people’s money, that is. Until recently, McCluskey headed Unite, and his liberal use of the union’s funds is a motif of this book.
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